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How many of us in business have really sat down and thought out how best to maximise the benefits of Social Media for our businesses?

tree-200795_640It’s a minefield, isn’t it? But you know you’ve got to be there because that’s where the conversations are taking place these days. That’s where you’ll generate business leads that you hope will convert to sales. It’s on Social Media that brands (and businesses) will succeed or fail – particularly if you’re a customer-facing business, and there’s no better way to zone in on your target audience than through planned and structured use of the various Social Media platforms.

And don’t forget – your competitors are up there trying to attract your potential customers also.

Of course that’s not all, because Social Media is also a go-to destination for networking and for thought sharing with other professionals in your business space.

So, how do you make all of this work for you?

Well, there’s no easy solution, but with a little (or sometimes a lot) of effort you will be able to make Social Media work for your business by following these key steps:

Identify Your Target Audience:

To succeed in business you must know your customers, and you must know the target market that will best allow your business to develop and grow.

Take the time to identify and profile these key elements, and you’ll have the foundation from which to build your marketing and communication strategies.

Choose the Social Media Channels that will allow you to best interact with your Target Audience.

The Social Media space is populated with many companies all with their own particular niche in the area of Social Media.

The most popular in Ireland are Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. But, there are many others also that businesses owners need to be aware of, including Linkedin, Flickr; MySpace, Google+, Pinterest and more.

The most important decision for your business is that you choose the channel, or channels that will work best for your business.

Focus on Engaging Content

All Social Media sites thrive on content, and are driven by engagement, interaction and feedback.

To successfully be a part of this space you must provide engaging content. This content might be self-generated, or you might choose to share other interesting content from others in your space. All very time consuming we know, but that’s how Social works.

Post regular, timely, updates

In order for your brand to stand out from the crowd you must post regular, timely updates. This doesn’t mean you have to be posting all the time, but you should be focussed on posting a number of times a day or at least three or four posts a week, every week.

After a little while you’ll begin to notice a pattern to the times when you receive feedback. This suggests optimum times for you to post – thus maximising impact and engagement opportunities.

Monitor feedback

As well as putting time aside to post information about your business, you must also monitor, and where necessary reply to any feedback or comments you may receive.

All of this will improve the level of confidence and trust in your business, and this in turn will have a positive impact on the bottom line.

Undertake regular SM Strategic Reviews

As the Social Media landscape continues to evolve and change, it is imperative that you take the time to continually review your Social Media strategies and to adjust your offering and the channels you use accordingly.

Quarterly reviews would be recommended – as this will allow you keep pace with any changes that will take place on the various Social Media platforms.

Now I know I’m biased, but if you find the above all a little too much, or indeed if you find it takes up too much of your scarce time, you always have the option of talking to a marketing and communications professional who will be more than happy to help you and your business maximise your return from your investment in Social Media.